Chennai, India: A Beacon of Sustainable Mobility

Group picture
Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke together with the ITDP team.

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke visited the Pondy Bazaar Pedestrian Plaza, a ground breaking initiative, serving as a statement to sustainable mobility advancements. 

This transformative endeavour, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) exemplifies a novel approach to urban development.

Support from the IKI

Aerial view of Pondy Bazaar Pedestrian Plaza
Pondy Bazaar Pedestrian Plaza: this is what a pedestrian-friendly design looks like

During her visit, Minister Lemke engaged with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) India team, gaining insights into their pioneering efforts to foster sustainable mobility in India. The team focused on their remarkable journey of street transformation across the nation, originating in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. And the subsequent scale-up to more than 100 cities through three comprehensive national programs: Cycles4Change,  Streets4People, and  Transport4All, all under the auspices of the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Since 2015, the ITDP, supported by IKI as part of the India Sustainable Mobility Initiative project, has partnered with the Greater Chennai Corporation and the Chennai Smart City Limited. Their collaborative efforts have been dedicated to transforming the city’s streets into safe and comfortable spaces for pedestrians and cyclists and improving the public transportation system. 

“Streets for people” – Pioneering Vision

A group of women
Harrington Road, Chetpet, Chennai

Chennai pioneered urban change, adopting India's first Non-Motorised Transport Policy, prioritising walking and cycling. The city launched an award-winning Streets for People Initiative that redesigned 100+ km, including the Pondy Bazaar Pedestrian Plaza. Building on this work, Chennai launched the Complete Streets program that intends to scale up work to 250+ km in 6 neighbourhoods across the city. The city operationalised the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority to consolidate and coordinate all transport projects in the city and also set up the country’s first Gender and Policy Lab to mainstream gender-inclusive transport planning.

Exploring the Pondy Bazaar Pedestrian Plaza

Pondy Bazaar Pedestrian Plaza, T Nagar, Chennai

Following the presentation, Minister Lemke and her delegation embarked on an exploration of the Pondy Bazaar Pedestrian Plaza alongside the ITDP India team. The plaza served as a example of the project's achievements, the wide and accessible walkways, lush greenery, comfortable seating, designated parking zones, well-organized on-street parking, children's play areas, and integrated utilities. 

This exceptional space not only sets Chennai apart but also stands as an inspiring blueprint for other cities to emulate.

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